Tag Archives: outsider

When Someone Refers To Someone Else As An Outsider Or Outcast

When you meet someone new & get to know that person, at some point your families will come up in conversation.  A red flag you need to be aware of may suddenly show up when you begin to discuss your families.  The particular red flag I’m referring to is when someone refers to another person in their family as if they are a big problem in the family, & they have no problem labeling the person based on that assumption.  They may call them an outsider, the black sheep or even the problem child.

The reason this is a red flag is because it shows the person discussing their relative this way is a part of an “us against them” mentality.  Clearly, that “problem child” is a huge problem within his or her own family.  This is a sign of a person being scapegoated.  And, scapegoating is a sign of an abusive family.

I saw this in action when I first got involved with my husband.  His family very much has an “us versus them” mentality.  Those of us who joined the family were clearly outsiders.  The only ones welcomed into the inner sanctum were ones who came from a very wealthy family or who did the bidding of the in-law family.  Think the Borg from Star Trek The Next Generation.  “You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.”  Those of us who weren’t willing to assimilate into the family & focus all of our attention on the in-laws, aka the Collective, were clearly outsiders & treated as such.

The family in these situations acts as if they are the good people, burdened by this person’s terrible behavior, trouble causing & lack of worthiness to be a part of their precious family.  The outsider, in short, is to blame for any & all problems within the family, & a source of great embarrassment, which is the definition of a scapegoat in a narcissistic family.

Treating people this way is very common not just among in-laws, but within biological families as well.  It’s happened to me as well as many of my readers who I’ve spoken with.  By scapegoating one person, this allows a group of people to avoid any responsibility for problems within their group.  Clearly they did nothing wrong!  It was that awful scapegoat who is to blame for all the ills in the family.

By shifting all blame to the scapegoat, this also allows the group to maintain the image they wish to portray –  the big happy family, the perfect family, better than others, etc.

Possibly the biggest advantage for those who scapegoat someone is by doing this, they are able to maintain their denial.  Denial they have done anything wrong, denial their family isn’t perfect, denial that the toxic person in the family isn’t really the toxic one.

These are such incredibly unhealthy behaviors!  Functional people don’t blame innocent people.  They accept responsibility for their behavior & expect others to do the same.  Functional people also respect that everyone is an individual & don’t get angry when someone believes, thinks or acts differently than them.

There is one final thing you need to be aware of on this topic.  Not every person who mentions someone in their family as an outsider is dysfunctional.  You can tell the difference between a functional & dysfunctional person discussing the outsider in their family.  A functional person doesn’t speak of their family’s outsider in a bad light.  They think of the person in question as very different than the rest of the family, but they don’t paint that person in a negative light.  They may even admire the differences in that person.  In any case, they have no problem with this “outsider’s” differences.

If someone you just met discusses an outsider in their family, pay attention to how they discuss this person.  It can show you whether or not this is an emotionally healthy, functional person.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

It’s Good Being The Black Sheep!

As a black sheep, I have plenty of experience in the role.  I hope my thoughts here help my fellow black sheep!

To be a black sheep in your family, you have to be very different from that family.  We’re labeled that way because we talk truth rather than denial & we aren’t willing to live in the same dysfunctional patterns as our relatives.  Rather than that being a good thing, we’re ruthlessly judged & criticized for not following in our family’s dysfunctional footsteps.  Rather than applaud our courage for breaking the cycle, we’re called things like crazy & ungrateful, & treated as if we’re the scourge of the earth for going against “family”. 

You also can marry into a family where you’re the black sheep.  I’ve done this as have many other women I know.  My mother in-law hated me from when we first met, which meant her two daughters did as well.  I am very different from all of them.  My interests, beliefs & more are different than theirs.  These differences were obviously a big problem, among other things.  Not submitting to their control was a problem, too.  If I just would’ve let them mold me into whatever they wanted me to be, they might have been able to tolerate me.

It’s not easy being a black sheep because of such treatment.  Your own flesh & blood being so cruel hurts.  Not only their words, but their betrayal too.  Or, in the case of in-laws like mine, it’s frustrating because you never had a chance.  Nothing you could’ve done or done differently would’ve made any difference. 

In these situations, I believe that feeling your emotions is important.  It’s ok to be sad or angry that things are as they are with your family &/or in-laws, or that people you thought loved you would turn their back on you.  It’s ok to be sad or angry that the family of the person you love has so little love & respect for that person, they can’t manage even basic civility to you, that person’s mate.  Any person with even a bit of love in their heart would be emotional about these things! 

Accept people.  This doesn’t mean you should tolerate abuse, of course.  It just means that you accept that these people are in a place of dysfunction & that means you two aren’t going to get along because you want to be healthy.  It’s comparable to a former drug addict.  That person isn’t going to spend time with his former dealer if he wants to maintain his sobriety!  If you want to maintain your functional ways, you’re going to have to avoid dysfunctional people.

Recognize that their mistreatment of you isn’t personal.  It’s merely their dysfunction coming out.  When my father was dying & my family attacked me for not going to say goodbye, God showed me that it had nothing to do with me or my father.  It was about them maintaining their delusions.  My not going was proof our family wasn’t perfect, which is a truth they were unable to accept.  This seems to be common among family members who shun the black sheep.

If you think about it, do you really want to fit in with people like this?  I thought about my family in this context.  Almost every person is fake, judgmental, critical, hypocritical, greedy, wicked & more.  Not long after my mother died I learned a couple of relatives conned a great deal of money out of her after my father died.  How despicable!  I have NO desire for anyone like that in my life, family or not.  If you think about it, you may feel the same way. 

If you’re struggling with your black sheep role, always remember you can talk to your Heavenly Father about it.  God will help you to cope & give you comfort.  Let Him!  He’s more than happy to do that for you.

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Filed under Narcissism